I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. (Psalm 121:1,2)
History tells us that, in the early years after Jesus died and was resurrected, the Jews, in revolt against the Roman Empire, took their stand atop the mountain fortress of Masada. Because of its height and inaccessibility, Masada was thought to be impregnable. However, over the course of a year, the attacking Romans patiently moved tons of stone and compacted earth to form a ramp up to the mountain, by which they laboriously maneuvered a siege tower and battering ram into position, enabling them to overwhelm the Jewish defenders.
Centuries before this chapter in Jewish history, a psalmist, looking out over the lofty, imposing hills of Jerusalem, made the wise and inspired observation that it is not the mountains that protect us, but the maker of the mountains, our God.
Last year was, in many ways, a year of uncertainty and upheaval. Many of the institutions on which people looked as safety nets stumbled or crumbled; many of the great minds and creative thinkers passed away; nations and armies rose and fell. For many of us, on a personal level, 2016 was a year of challenges, setbacks, and grief. And yet, in the midst of it all, we must remember that we have an anchor: Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)
As we stand at the dawn of a new year, let us take our eyes off of those illusory things that we may be tempted to put our confidence in: our health, our jobs, our nation’s leaders. We must pray for these, to be sure, but we need not invest our confidence in them. Instead, let us focus that confidence on the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. Our world will change, but our God remains the same.